Sunday, July 19, 2009

Family Frolic: Part 2-- Fun Places, From Bowling to Bryan--John Bryan that is

The continuing saga of the June 2009 adventure when our kids and their families landed here all at the same time!

In 2008 when we had our get-together in California, we really enjoyed going bowling. (This is a photograph from back then.) Barbie, Betsey and Kyle are in front, with Helena, Doug and Peter in back.So this year we decided to go bowling again. Again it was great fun. It was even more fun for me because I actually bowled this time too. I just did it in my own way. If I got too tired I had Peter finish out the frame for me. OK so our combined efforts never did reach 100, but we had a blast. A major regret I have is that I didn't take my camera. Fortunately Karen did, and was able to capture an amazing event:Her comment was: We took a couple of videos, but this was an extremely lucky one that got the push, the strike, then Elizabeth's reaction "That's nice, let's go get another ball"


It's tradition that whenever the family gets together we just have to make an excursion to Young's for some of their luscious ice cream, and a romp through the grounds. Here's Little Miss Hazel in her sun bonnet.
Part of the tradition is feeding the goats…Karen, Elizabeth and Peter
And touring the barn. I'm not sure what Lizbeth and Kate were looking at here, it may have been geese, but they obviously had the same reaction. I thought this was hilarious. (Helena has a cute follow-up picture of this event on her blog.) Kirsten had the best time on this tractor…
And on these big tires. She sat their and kicked her feet with joy. Unfortunately the sun was in her eyes, so it was hard to keep smiling. Please click here for Helena's extensive coverage of the rest of our Young's excursion if you haven't all ready seen it. She got some really cute shots. For some reason I lost track of Barb, Kyle and Hazel while we were out there, so I'm hoping that some time they will be able to to post some pictures that they took that day also.

I also really liked these hanging baskets.
Week Three…

After everyone else left, Helena's family stayed for another week. Another family tradition that happens when possible is hiking in nearby John Bryan State Park. Jim, Betsey and Kirsten went along with Helena's family. (Thank you, Jim, for taking all these pictures.) I stayed home and took a nap. Grandmas are good at that.
The shade was nice and cool for Helena, Andy and Kate.
Water is always fun, especially when you're 4 1/2 years old.
The next stop was Clifton Gorge. They didn't go down into the gorge, but went on a nice hiking trail that is part boardwalk alongside part of the top. Here are Betsey, Kirsten, Kate, Doug with Andy, and Helena.


Helena and Betsey both got haircuts that week, from their dad. (Brave girls.) They had been growing their hair long enough so they could donate it to Locks of Love to be made into wigs for children with cancer. (I just now read that Locks of Love is actually a scam because they sell much of the hair they get to professional wig makers. So is it a scam or isn't it?)
THE ENGINEER got out the ruler so the hair would be at least 10 inches in length. Betsey happened to be wearing a striped shirt when Jim cut her hair. The horizontal stripes made straight cutting so much easier, that Helena borrowed the shirt when it was her turn. So is this Helena or is it Betsey? Any guesses?If you guessed Helena, you were right!!
Well that's all for part 2 of our Family Frolic. Please scroll down for part 1. (Parts 3 and 4 will be coming soon.)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Fabulous Family Frolic--PART 1

Much is happening in my life right now, and I'm getting farther and farther behind in blogging. There is much to share. I had hopes of making a really long post about the wonderful visit we had when all the kids came, but I realized that I'm going to have to break it down into several smaller ones.

In June we had our children and their families visit--all at the same time. We were blessed to have three new babies in the family in 2008 and this was the first opportunity to get them all together. Yes it was a bit hectic with 14 people and one little yellow dog in the house, but it was great fun. Here we are in our back yard…Front Row starting at left is Helena's family: Doug holding 4 1/2-year old Kate, Helena with Andy age 5 1/2 months. Then Betsey with Angie. (At 15, Angie is definitely our oldest "grand daughter." )

Row two starts with Barbie's family: Kyle, Barbie holding Hazel, age 7 1/2 months. Kirsten, Kathey & Jim. Then comes Peter's family: Karen, 17-month old Elizabeth, and Peter.

Here are the moms with all the kids.Helena with Kate and Andy, then Karen & Elizabeth, and Barbie and Hazel

Poor little Andy wasn't happy in the above picture, so here's a Happy Andy shot.
This pose was very typical of him while he was here. He definitely found his foot. :-)

Barbie, Kyle and Hazel came a week early.While here they (mostly Kyle) landscaped around our swing house, and around the deck. Our yard looks fabulous. (More about that in a later post.)Hazel enjoyed getting acquainted with Mollie.
Hazel was sitting up well by herself while they were here.She was just starting to get up on her hands and knees. (After they were home a week or so she started crawling all over the house.)My heart took some pictures that, unfortunately, I didn't get with the camera. Much of the time I so enjoyed watching the babies interact, that I didn't think to snap photos of them.

Something I could have like to photograph involves a "Bouncy, Bouncy Baby" toy like the one shown below. I copied this picture of a several-months-younger Hazel from Barbie's Blog just to show this toy. Hazel loved to stand while they were here, but couldn't yet do it alone, so a toy like this was perfect for her. We were able to find a used one like this at Once Upon a Child. I have a vivid memory of Hazel standing in the bouncer grinning and bouncing up and down as Elizabeth walked up and handed her a toy. It was just SO sweet. Something else very sweet, and very unusual happened during that first week that Barb and Kyle were here. Jim spent some time crawling around under the deck wiring it for electricity. The picture below shows that he got a little bit dirty!
Unfortunately we did not get any pictures of the extraordinary thing that happened later on. Jim had taken the lattice off the bottom of the deck in several places so he could work under there. The picture below shows what the lattice looks like when it's on, and it also shows part of the landscaping that Kyle did which Barbie helped design.Well, that particular evening, when the lattice was off near the area shown above, Kyle went out as it was getting dark, and discovered three tiny baby bunnies sitting there just under the edge of the deck. Betsey said their eyes had probably opened that day, and they didn't know enough to be afraid of people. Kyle sat down in the grass and held out his hand, and one by one they came over to him. Soon he was holding all three. They were snug in his lap. It was a sweet, precious thing. Kyle said that animals usually do respond well to him, and these sure did. For some reason we didn't get any pictures of the bunnies, but the picture below shows Hazel and Kirsten sitting close by. They obviously were not as impressed as I was. :-)
After Kyle put the bunnies back, Jim put the lattice back up to give them some protection from neighborhood cats during the night. On closer inspection we could see where several of the lattice holes had been chewed larger, probably to make a more comfortable entrance for momma rabbit. The bunnies were still under there the next day, but by the following day they were gone.


For the most part the weather was really nice, so we were able to play outside a lot. Here are Hazel and Barbie in the back yard. I copied this from Helena's blog. As she said, aren't they cute?
And here are Hazel (7 1/2 mo.) and cousin Andy (5 1/5 mo).
We got a sandbox for the little ones. It had some very fine sandbox sand that was super fun to mold. Elizabeth (17 1/2 mo.) and Kate (age 4 1/2) enjoyed it a lot.
Helena and Doug thought it was pretty cool too.We also set up a wading pool. Actually the weather was a bit cool, but they did get in it a couple of times. I couldn't resist copying this picture of Elizabeth off of Helena's blog.We also bought a couple of balls for them to play with. It turned out that Elizabeth is in a stage where she absolutely loves balls. Needless to say, she had a ball. (groan.)
The swing house proved to be a great place for various groups of people to gather and visit. Here are Kate and Andy with their Aunt Barbie.
And on the other side, Hazel with her daddy Kyle, and grandma.
When everyone was inside we had wall-to-wall babies.
Actually we had wall-to-wall people and um, wall to wall chaos. Here the family is making felt animals for an ABC game for Lizbeth. Helena has more information about it. Click Here.Because the babies required so much care, we just didn't get around to playing very many games, or singing. We had some family walks in the evening. We did play with the musical pipe chimes once and we did have one game of Apples to Apples. That's what the group is doing here.Something Peter said was SO funny that Betsey just couldn't stop laughing.That's all for now Folks. More coming soon.